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Glashütte Original - Dials for the SeaQ

Glashütte Original Dials for the SeaQ

The manufacture of the dials of the Glashütte Original SeaQ diver's watch requires supreme craftsmanship.

Discussions about the making of highly refined mechanical watches usually begin with a description of the sometimes extraordinary complications and sophisticated decorative finishing of the movement. Equally important, however, and no less elaborate, is the manufacture of exquisite dials – since they represent, after all, the face of a watch and are doubtless the reason for many a purchasing decision. 

Glashütte Original is one of the very few watchmakers in the prestige segment to have its own dial manufactory situated in Pforzheim, a city in the south of Germany. This capability makes it possible to create highly individual products that lend every timepiece from Glashütte Original an unmistakable appearance. The most recent examples are the dials on the new SeaQ and SeaQ Panorama Date diver’s watches, which are made using a number of different characteristic techniques.

Les cadrans de la SeaQ

SeaQ © Glashütte Original

The debut models are presented with a total of four different dial versions. Of these, the two for the SeaQ models are 30.5 mm in diameter, and in terms of colour and design are closely modelled on their historic predecessors. The slight difference between the versions lies in the lettering on the dial. While on the edition limited to 69 pieces one finds, as with its historic predecessor, “25 Rubis, Shockproof”, the unlimited model presents “Glashütte i/Sa“. 

The two 33.1 mm diameter SeaQ Panorama Date dials, produced in black and blue versions, set a number of new accents. Along with the larger window for the Panorama Date at 4 o’clock, the most obvious differences vis-à-vis the smaller SeaQ versions are the applied numerals and indexes, which give the dial as a whole a three-dimensional quality.

Les cadrans de la SeaQ

Stages in the production of the SeaQ dials © Glashütte Original

Les étapes de la fabrication

Every dial starts out as a blank, which is punched from a strip of metal, in this case brass. At the same time two studs at the edge and later four so-called catch holes are pressed into each blank, which serve to lock it in place at the subsequent processing stations. In a further step the date window is created, later enhanced by a stamped decorative frame. Subsequently a central hole is inserted where, in the end, the hands will make their rounds. Additional, almost invisible holes are drilled for the SeaQ Panorama Date version, into which the small feet of the appliques are fitted and then welded in place at the back. To complete these basic steps the dial is then punched from the blank, giving it its definitive diameter.

Les cadrans de la SeaQ

Blank © Glashütte Original

At this point the surface treatment begins. With the assistance of a grinding and polishing machine and a special liquid (emulsion) the dials are first ground and then polished to a high gloss finish. This is the necessary prerequisite for the subsequent application of the sunray finish, which is performed using a vertically rotating brass brush. And now colour comes into play. Galvanisation gives the dials their black or blue hue, depending on the version. The dialmakers need a great deal of experience and sustained concentration in order to produce identical results with the same high quality for the entire edition. Once the dials have been rinsed in clear water and dried they are ready for the application of numerals, indexes, the logo, lettering and additional details.

Les cadrans de la SeaQ

Cleaning the polished dials © Glashütte Original

Les cadrans de la SeaQ

Cleaning dials after black galvanisation © Glashütte Original

Subsequent processing of the two dial versions follows diverging paths. For the smaller SeaQ models the numerals and index lines are first applied to the dial in a light primer colour. A soft rubber pad (tampon) then picks up the ink from an etched plate (cliché) and impresses it with exceptional precision onto the surface of the dial. The same process, using white printing ink this time, is performed for all the other details. In a final step the primed numerals and indexes are carefully filled in by hand with Super-LumiNova luminous material in a colour known as “Old Radium”.

Les cadrans de la SeaQ

Application of numerals and index lines in light primer colour © Glashütte Original

En ce qui concerne la SeaQ Date Panorama, le logo, l'inscription et la minuterie sont également appliqués par tampographie, mais les chiffres et les index sont appliqués. Ces appliques sont également garnies de matière luminescente Super-LumiNova, mais il s'agit dans ce cas de vert clair ou de blanc (pour les cadrans noirs ou bleus). Enfin, tous les cadrans sont soumis à un contrôle de qualité strict avant d'être envoyés à Glashütte pour le montage final.

Les cadrans de la SeaQ

Numeral appliques © Glashütte Original

Les cadrans de la SeaQ

Mounting of numeral and index appliques © Glashütte Original

 

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